Cloth diapering for a new generation: we’ve come a long way, babies!
Are you picturing a cloth diaper as an elaborate process of folding and pinning, secured with a safety pin (a sharp object you’d rather not be operating near your baby while sleep-deprived at 3am)? Today, there are so many better options that are not only eco-friendly, but even more cost-effective than ever. Here’s my overview of some great choices for diapering your baby the natural way!
Before we get started: there are a lot of misconceptions about cloth diapering. I hear people say that their child was potty-trained by age one because they could still feel the wetness, and modern day disposable diapers are so effective at sopping up wetness that kids won’t feel it at all, complicating the potty-training process. I personally believe, however, that this is just a societal change. In the 1920s, children were potty trained at one. That jumped up to 18 months in the 1950s. Today, the average age for potty training is 2.5-3 years old. Ultimately, the timing for potty-training varies more by your preferences and your child’s readiness than by whether you use cloth or disposables.
With that said, here are some cloth diaper options:
Flats and prefolds: You can still use the classic flat or prefold diapers with the safety pins if you like, since they’re still supremely cost-effective! Flats are a large square cloth that needs to be folded and secured with a safety pin. Prefolds are a rectangular cloth that is thicker in the middle for more absorption, and also require pinning. With both of these kinds of cloth diapers, you will want to use an outer shell every time to keep liquid from seeping through. Diaper covers are usually made of cotton, but bamboo and hemp are becoming more commonly used because of their antimicrobial properties. They need to be washed up to 4 times before use to get all the natural oils out of the fabric, and they get more absorbent as they are washed.
Fitted and contour diapers: These are similar to flats/prefolds since they still need a shell, but they don’t require pinning. Fitted diapers have an elastic around the leg opening; contours do not. Contours are less expensive, but they tend to have a larger size range and may not fit every child. The entire diaper will be more absorbent than a flat/prefold, but you do need to purchase separate shells.
All-in-One (AIO) and All-in-Two diapers: These options are most like disposables. AIO have the liner sewn into the diaper, and the All-in-Two have a removable liner that snaps in, so there will be no stuffing and unstuffing at laundry time. You do not need a shell, as everything is together with these diapers.
Pockets and Sleeve diapers: These are very similar to AIO diapers, but the inserts are not sewn in – instead, there’s a pocket in which you stuff before every use. Pocket diapers have one opening to put the stuffing in, and the stuffing then needs to be taken out before laundering. Sleeve diapers are opened on both sides, so the stuffing can make it’s way out in the wash.
Hybrid diapers: These are a cross between disposable and cloth diapers. There are two to three parts to the diaper: an outer shell, soaker pads, and biodegradable liners. You snap the liner into the shell to soak up the liquids (it can be a cloth reusable soaker or a disposable soaker). Then you can place the biodegradable liner on top to catch the solids. This makes it incredibly easy to take the solids out and flush them down the toilet.
Whether you go with cloth or disposable, we’ve got you covered at Magic Beans, and our friendly customer service reps will be happy to discuss your options with you before baby arrives. So if you’re readying your baby registry and have questions about what diapering system is right for you, ask us!
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